By Will Richardson on On My Mind
Wes Freyer points to the Fall issue of Interactive Educator (.pdf put out by Smart Technologies) which features a slew of good articles by Wes himself, David Warlick and Dave Weinberger. A couple of quick quotes that resonated, first from Weinberger:
Educators therefore face a different set of challenges. Very different. Their authority is in question since we've learned that we can learn more from talking with others than by listening to any single expert. But, more important, if knowledge emerges from conversations, then just about all our educational focus ought to be on learning how to be good conversationalists: how to listen, how to kindle a conversation, how to evaluate claims, how to speak in a voice worth hearing... and, most of all, how to share a world in which knowledge is plural, for that's what conversation – and knowledge – is about.
That's really good stuff. The teachers we find are often more effective than the teachers we're given, and the idea that knowledge is plural. Again, that is such an important shift for us to understand.
And David Warlick's piece is just a great starting point for discussions about literacy. He's such a great storyteller, and he really brings home the key issues we're faced with today:
The networked nature of information has enormous implications for literacy. Before networking, information was produced at great expense. Editors and publishers selected only the information that was valuable in terms of its acceptability and worth to customers. In addition, information was made available in containers, such as books, magazines, newspapers, bookstores and libraries. Each container would hold only so much information, limiting our access to only that information that was immediately and physically available. In this published, print-based information environment, the principal literacy skill was the ability to read the information that. was in front of you. But as the nature of information and how we access it evolves, that is no longer the case. Educators need to replace practices that teach students to assume the authority of the content around them and instead teach students to prove the authority.
If you're just getting your brain around these tools, this is an excellent starting point.
But also, don't miss the irony of a magazine called "Interactive Educator" published as a pdf. It's about the least interactive form you can use. Amazing...but not surprising...